HAMPTON — After weeks of voting and preparation, the Virginia Living Museum has announced the name for its new loggerhead sea turtle.
Of the three names on the ballot – Gingersnap, Lola and Shelldon – Gingersnap has won with 919 out of the 2,453 votes cast, according to the Virginia Living Museum.
The sea turtle was introduced to the 30,000-gallon Noland Chesapeake Bay Aquarium in June and it joins a variety of other native Virginia species including a sandbar shark.
History of the turtle
Gingersnap was born Sept. 19, 2015 and was found at Emerald Isle, North Carolina, museum officials said.
The sea turtle was admitted to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores program as a straggler hatchling on Sept. 22, 2016 and then transferred to the Virginia Living Museum Nov. 2, 2017, and was held behind the scenes.
Gingersnap is still too young to determine its gender; loggerheads don’t sexually mature until they are at least 15 years old and may live as long as 60 years and reach 400 pounds, according to the museum.
The Virginia Living Museum collaborates with North Carolina Aquariums to care for and raise juvenile loggerhead sea turtles that have been stranded or abandoned.
The museum then raises and displays the juvenile loggerheads in the Chesapeake Bay Tank until they are matured and ready for release back into the wild.
Once they are ready, the turtles are taken 25 miles offshore out of Beaufort, North Carolina to the Gulf Stream where they are then released into the wild.
The turtles are often fitted with a satellite tag which provides data on their movements and migratory behavior, according to the museum.
These lightweight tags are attached to the turtles’ shells and transmit a signal each time the turtles surface, which indicates their exact location, but harmlessly fall off as their shells grow.
Track movement of these turtles online.
To learn more about the Virginia Living Museum, click here.